Copyright violation can land you in jail – Knit pro international vs State of NCT Delhi

Issue – Can FIR be registered u/s 63 of Copyright act?

What is the nature of offence u/s 63 Copyright act 1957?

Held – Offence u/s 63 copyright act 1957 is cognizable and non bailable. Police can register FIR under this provision.

In 2022 itself, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in M/s Knit Pro International v. The State of NCT of Delhi, has observed that offences under Section 63 of the Copyright Act, 1957 (“Copyright Act”) are cognizable and non–bailable.

Factual Matrix

M/s Knit Pro International (“Knit Pro”) had filed an application under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“CrPC”) seeking directions from the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (“CMM”) for “registration of FIR against” Respondent No. 2 (“accused”) for offences relating to Sections 51, 63 and 64 of the Copyright Act along with Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC”). The application was allowed by the CMM by way of an order dated 23rd October 2018 and thus an FIR was registered.
Consequently, the accused filed a Writ Petition before the Delhi High Court (“High Court”), praying for quashing of the criminal proceedings. During the hearing of the case, the accused argued that “the offence under Section 63 of the Copyright Act is not a cognizable and a non-bailable offence” and thus prayed for quashing of the criminal proceedings on that ground alone.
Vide the impugned judgement, the High Court allowed the petition by observing “that the offence under Section 63 of the Copyright Act is a non-cognizable offence.” Aggrieved, Knit Pro approached the Supreme Court in the present proceedings.

The infringement of intellectual property rights is one of the biggest problems of modern days.

India is under obligation under the TRIPS AGREEMENT hence the recent judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court furtehr strengthens the legal framework of the Copyright Act and CrPC.

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